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Google Algorithm Updates

In the beginning, in the 90's, search engines were not as effective as it is today; it was mainly focused on keyword matching and backlinks. So, it was quite easy for the low-quality websites to rank higher by targeting their exact keywords with lots of backlinks.

To solve this problem, Google introduced an algorithm to filter the results so that it could clean the web. Since then, Google is continuously updating its algorithm to maintain and improve the efficiency of its search engine.

Some of the major Google updates, which helped it filter sites more precisely and clean the web effectively are given below:

2019 Updates:

BERT Update:

In October 2019, this update, Google upgraded its algorithm and hardware to understand BERT natural language processing (NLP) model. BERT allows Google to better interpret and understand languages searches and thus improve search results.

Site Diversity Update:

It was introduced in June 2019 to improve situations where sites had more than two organic listings.

2018 Update:

Mobile Speed Update:

In 2018 Google introduced mobile page speed update to include page speed as a ranking factor for mobile results. Google said that it would affect only the slow mobile sites.

2017 Update:


It was introduced on 8 March, 2017 in response to thin, affiliate-heavy, ad-cantered content. It targets sites or blogs that offer low-quality content and mainly created to generate revenue through ads.

2016 Updates

Penguin 4.0

Penguin 4.0 was announced on 23 September 2016, with few changes like it will be part of the core algorithm, will update in real-time, and will be page specific instead of affecting the entire domain.

Mobile Friendly Boost Update

It was launched on 12 May 2016 to help mobile-friendly sites on mobile search.

2015 Updates

Panda 4.2

On 17 July 2015, Google rolled out Panda refresh (Panda 4.2). It has no immediate effect on rankings. According to Google, it impacted 23 % of English language search queries.

Mobile-Friendly Update (Mobilegeddon)

It was rolled out on 21 April 2015. It made mobile-friendliness an important ranking factor for mobile searches. Its job was to boost the rankings of mobile-ready pages so that quality and relevant content could be provided to mobile users.

2014 Updates

Penguin 3.0

It was introduced on 17 October 2014. It was just a refresh that helped those websites boost their ranking that were de-ranked in the previous update (Penguin 2.1).

Panda 4.1

It was the 27th version of Panda released by Google on 23 September 2014. Google said that it would help the search engine identify poor content so that small or medium-sized websites with quality content could rank better.


It was rolled out in July 2014, for local businesses. Google said that it would create closer ties between local and core algorithms so that people could find useful and accurate information in local search results.

Panda 4.0

This Panda update was introduced on 19 May 2014 to help small websites and businesses with limited resources. It was a data refresh or a change in the Panda algorithm.

2013 Updates

Hummingbird 1.0

It was introduced by Google on 20 August 2013 to understand the changing face of the Web better. It was capable of understanding the intent of long search terms instead of just recognizing a specific keyword. It helped Google recognize long-tail search terms and accurately rank answers to such long-tail keywords. It enabled users to ask questions and get appropriate answers.

2012 Updates


It was introduced on 24 April 2012 to target the sites that were spamming the search results by buying links or using some other link networks specifically designed to boost rankings. Google issued warnings through Webmaster tools and penalized the sites for not following its guidelines.

2011 Updates


It was first launched on Feb24 2011. This algorithm was used to assign a score to webpages based on the quality of the content and de-rank the sites with low-quality content. Its job was to identify, and de-rank content farm sites offering thin content or sites with high ad-to-content ratio.

2010 Updates


In June 2010, Google updated its caffeine algorithm to introduce a new web indexing system. It helped Google to improve the speed of the search engine and integrated crawling and indexing that resulted in a fifty percent fresher index.

2009 Updates

Caffeine (Preview)

In August 2009, Google released Caffeine (Preview), the upcoming infrastructure change to improve and integrate indexing, crawling, and range of their search engine index.


It was introduced in February 2009. It was seen as a big change that would favor big brands but Google?s Matt Cutts cleared that it was a minor change focused on ranking signals like trust and authority.

2007 Updates


It was introduced in June 2007. This update was named in honor of Google's Vanessa Fox. Matt Cutts said that it was just some minor changes like the integration of search results with news, images, and videos, etc.

2005 Updates


It was rolled out in December 2005. It was an infrastructure change that brought new technicalities related to URL canonicalization, redirects, etc. It helped Google to prepare for future developments.

2004 Updates


This update was launched in February 2004. It expanded Google's index and incorporated Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which enabled Google to understand synonyms better.


It was introduced on 23 January 2004. This update was actually some improvements in the Florida update. It targeted the on-page spam tactics like invisible text and meta-tag stuffing.

2003 Updates


It was introduced on 16 November 2003. It brought significant change to Google's algorithm and put an end to the use of keyword stuffing to manipulate search engine results.


It was introduced in July 2013. With this update, Google changed its way of updating the index; now, instead of indexing every month, it started indexing on a daily basis.

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